UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science
Infectious Disease | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Translational Medical Research | Virus Diseases
Background COVID-19 has been shown to increase the risk of adverse mental health consequences. A recent electronic health record (EHR)-based observational study showed an almost two-fold increased risk of new-onset mental illness in the first 90 days following a diagnosis of acute COVID-19.
Methods We used the National COVID Cohort Collaborative, a harmonized EHR repository with 2,965,506 COVID-19 positive patients, and compared cohorts of COVID-19 patients with comparable controls. Patients were propensity score-matched to control for confounding factors. We estimated the hazard ratio (COVID-19:control) for new-onset of mental illness for the first year following diagnosis. We additionally estimated the change in risk for new-onset mental illness between the periods of 21-120 and 121-365 days following infection.
Findings We find a significant increase in incidence of new-onset mental disorders in the period of 21-120 days following COVID-19 (3.8%, 3.6-4.0) compared to patients with respiratory tract infections (3%, 2.8-3.2). We further show that the risk for new-onset mental illness decreases over the first year following COVID-19 diagnosis compared to other respiratory tract infections and demonstrate a reduced (non-significant) hazard ratio over the period of 121-365 days following diagnosis. Similar findings are seen for new-onset anxiety disorders but not for mood disorders.
Interpretation Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 are at an increased risk for developing new-onset mental illness, especially anxiety disorders. This risk is most prominent in the first 120 days following infection.
Funding National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).
Epidemiology, COVID-19, mental illness, mental health
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DOI of Published Version
medRxiv 2021.11.30.21267071; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.11.30.21267071. Link to preprint on medRxiv.
Coleman B, Casiraghi E, Blau H, Chan L, Haendel M, Laraway B, Callahan TJ, Deer RR, Wilkins K, Reese J, Robinson PN. (2021). Increased risk of psychiatric sequelae of COVID-19 is highest early in the clinical course [preprint]. UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Supported Publications. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.11.30.21267071. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/umccts_pubs/286
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